lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Name:
Location: Kolkata, India

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ten times six times two times five

I was in trouble. Actually, I had been in trouble for a few weeks about this, what with my being unable to lift or shake it to stuff more coins into it. There was no help for it, but I had to sort the coins out of my piggy bank and exchange them.

It didn't help that the boys at my booze shop asked if I stopped collecting coins or if I was exchanging them elsewhere either. I wasn't. It was just that the so called piggy bank, or the aluminium box where I collected coins, was too full to take any more but I was in no position to lift it to sort the coins out. Now my wallet was getting weighed down by coins that I couldn't empty into the piggy bank, so I had to do something about it.

I used to empty it on the floor and sort the coins and stack them. Nowadays I dare not sit down on the floor. Not because I can't, but because of the trouble I'd have getting up. It has nothing to do with knees or flexibility but the fact that I can't use my palms to push myself up. My wrists aren't up to it.

We make do, needs must after all. So I spread a towel on the bed and emptied, with some effort, the contents of the piggy bank on to it. The first things to pick and put away were the ruby ring (don't ask) and the keys to a CPU we don't have anymore; then the dried marigolds from my favourite temple. Then I dealt with the coins.

Look, I can count up to ten. When there are Jumbo crosswords or long clues involved I can count even higher. But I don't like it.

So, there were piles on the towel on the bed. I was getting cross-eyed adding up. Variously, I arrived at totals of seven hundred and fifty, seventeen hundred and fifty, fifteen hundred and seventy and thirteen hundred and fifty. I turned to the resident expert.

"Honey, how much is ten times six times two times five?"

"Six hundred. But note that multiplication is associative."

"Whatever. So if I have got a stack of ten five Rupee coins in two columns of six each, it is six hundred Rupees?"

"Just tell me the stacks and denominations." He knows I am only grudgingly numerate, so he got straight to the point.

"I've got two Rupee coins in stacks of ten, five rows and five columns." I said despairingly.

"That's five hundred." He said confidently. My hero!

"Then there are these one Rupee coins, ten in a stack, five columns and eight rows." I bleated.

"That's four hundred." He said in a flash.

"How do I add the other stacks of coins that don't make round figures?" I wailed.

"Don't. Put them back in the box." He advised. "You've got fifteen hundred in small change and that is good enough."

Now, if I can only figure how to carry the coins to exchange them…

Cheers!

7 Comments:

Blogger dipali said...

And I thought I was mathematically challenged, Lali!

8:53 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

PS: The RA is not welcome in the New Year- please buzz off, RA.

8:54 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

Did you ever hear of the word 'delegation', Lali?

12:40 pm  
Blogger VeenS said...

you got that many?!
you depend on your Hero for calc?! not good ;)

7:08 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Dipali- You don't know about being mathematically challenged, I tell you. And as for RA, I wish your wishing it away works, really I do.

Ash- Delegation? As in embassy, diplomatic mission, devolvement or a group of representatives? :-)

VeenS- Yeah, well. He depends on me for spellings so I depend on him when I run out of fingers. :-)

9:49 pm  
Blogger PHAEDRUS said...

Lali,
In this age of coinstars - you are bothering about counting them!
err, in this age of VISA/MAsterCard/AMEX, you pay cash ..tsk tsk :)
Happy New Year anyways - to your hon too !!

1:49 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Phaedrus- I do have a credit card, you know. It is just that collecting coins is an old habit.

Happy New Year to you, too.

7:13 am  

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